Education Sec. DeVos visits Detroit charter school, fires back at criticism

Protesters made themselves heard Friday as U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made a visit to a public charter school as part of her Back to School Tour.

"We think it's a slap in the face, with what she has done to Michigan and the Detroit metropolitan area with the saturation of charter schools," said Lakia Wilson, Detroit Federation of Teachers.

"I say that's nonsense," 

DeVos spent time visiting the charter school, the Detroit Edison Public School Academy Friday.

"DEPSA is a great example of a school that's serving its students well and filling a need for families in this community," she said.

DeVos wants to be part of what she calls changing and correcting the narrative around what's happening in Detroit and other cities across the country. She said she is focusing on her Education Freedom Scholarships proposal designed to help expand education options for students.

"This state is behind other states in offering parents more choices and options," DeVos said.

DeVos believes parents should be empowered to choose the right fit for their child's learning success -  and said that may be outside the traditional public school setting. 

She said she had not yet met with Dr. Nicolai Vitti, the superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District during her tour. 

But she did have this to say about DPSCD: "I look forward to Dr. Vitti's continued efforts and applaud the changes that he's continuing to make." 

As for criticism that too many options in an educational system could force schools to close, DeVos had this to say to critics:

"We should be investing in what's right for individual students not thinking about buildings," she said.